Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lectures celebrating the 125th Anniversary of C.M. Hall's discovery

C.M. Hall, from Oberlin College Archives
see also CM Hall collection guide
Presentations by Gregory H. Robinson, Franklin Professor of Chemistry at University of Georgia, and Kevin Anton, Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer, Alcoa, are highlights of today's Charles Martin Hall celebration.

An ISI Web of Knowledge cited reference search of Professor Robinson's publications, dated 1984-2010, resulted in 187 cited publications, several of which have been cited well over 100 times, for a total of 1,509 citations.  One of the most recent and frequently cited publications (co-authored with Oberlin alumnus Bruce King) is this article published in Science:

Wang YZ, Xie YM, Wei PR, King RB, Schaefer HF, Schleyer PV, Robinson GH. 2008. A stable silicon(0) compound with a Si=Si double bond. SCIENCE 321(5892):1069-1071.

The article with the highest citation count dates from 1997, and was published in JACS:

Su JR, Li XW, Crittendon RC, Robinson GH. 1997. How short is a -Ga Ga- triple bond? Synthesis and molecular structure of Na-2[Mes*2C6H3-Ga Ga-C(6)H(3)Mes*(2)] (Mes*=2,4,6-i-Pr3C6H2): The first gallyne. J AM CHEM SOC 119(23):5471-5472.

Robinson's talk this afternoon drew an appreciative crowd of faculty, students, staff and townspeople.  We all look forward to the keynote address by Mr. Anton this evening!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

To not want to know is disastrous.

This quote from Marcelo Gleiser, posted on NPR today, is a perfect introduction to Evolution Weekend, just a few days away:
To not know is fine. To not want to know is disastrous.
Here is a further observation: Some people want to know, but don't know how to find or assess the accuracy of their information sources. More alarmingly, they don't know that they don't know how to find or assess information. The apparent ease of finding so much so quickly through any Web search engine does not translate into knowledge.  Next time you feel completely certain, absolutely sure, that your understanding of a particular issue or problem is correct, take careful stock of the source of your information: who funded the research?  is it free of bias?  who reviewed the data before publication? who is likely to profit (or suffer) from the research results?  do the authors hold educational degrees or certification relevant to their research findings?

Evolution Weekend is an excellent time to consider how scientific theory can be reconciled with personal belief without undermining faith or denying the integrity of scientific data.

Related reading:
The Prism and the rainbow: a Christian explains why evolution is not a threat / Joel Martin
Evolution vs. Creationism: an introduction / Eugenie Scott

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Congratulations, Mike! Assistant Professor Moore wins NSF CAREER grant

Great story on - and exciting to see Mike Moore's work to be rewarded with this NSF grant!  It is especially nice to learn that the grant will support collaboration with area high school teachers, in addition to teaching and research with college students and colleagues:

(From Oberlin College Headlines)  "In addition to supporting student-faculty research opportunities in his lab, Moore will use the CAREER grant to improve student understanding of the core concepts in evolutionary biology both at the college and high school levels. He plans to run a summer workshop for area high school teachers in which he’ll give instruction on phylogenetic concepts — material that isn’t covered in Advanced Placement biology curriculum, but necessary for intro-level biology courses in college. He will also work with the faculty who teach the introductory BIOL 102 course to implement new lab activities aimed at getting students up to pace on extracting plant DNA and building an evolutionary tree."

For an artistic view of plant evolution, check out 
The art of plant evolution / W. John Kress and Shirley Sherwood, Richmond : Kew Pub., 2009

Monday, February 07, 2011

Welcome to Spring Semester! Carrel Signup This Week

Study Carrel applications for spring semester are at the circulation desk; carrel assignments will be posted on Friday morning.  Any senior science major who had a carrel in the fall may keep that assigned carrel - but you must let us know you want it still!  Send a message to or tell whomever is at the circ desk.  More info.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Closed this afternoon! Snow and ice have us down, but not defeated.

The library should re-open on Thursday, after this mega-storm blows itself farther north and east.  Is this a contender for one of the biggest snowstorms in weather records?  You decide.  Read "10 Biggest Snowstorms of All Time."